About

Welcome to my blog. After many years in the public service and working in the real world, I am now writing books. I have written and published a historical novel, A Weaver’s Web, set in early 19th century Manchester area of the UK. It is available at Amazon UK (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00H52SEEK), US (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H52SEEK) and other countries as well as Google Play, Kobo and Apple.

A Weaver’s Web is about handloom weaver Henry Wakefield and his family who live in abject poverty in early 19th century Manchester, UK. He clashes with everyone from his wife Sarah to a factory agent, a local priest, and reformers, and son Albert runs away. Henry starts his own factory and becomes quite wealthy, but family members suffer. While Henry makes money, Sarah is put in the lunatic asylum, Albert is sent to New South Wales as a convict, and another son Benjamin faces eviction from the family home for having a baby to an orphan girl. Finally, someone starts a fire at Henry’s factory at night, but he is inside it.

The novel has a star average of 4.8 at Goodreads and 4.7 at Amazon, which is right up there. Selected comments by reviewers:

– It is a heartbreaking story of love, loss, acceptance and growth.
– It is beautifully written and crafted into an immediate classic.
– … this book is pure delight from start to finish.
– A mesmerizing novel of the struggle between the individual and the Industrial Revolution
– … this will be my favorite (best) read of the year!
– His writing style is of very high quality, not unlike a modern day Charles Dickens …
– … it was almost like a Mancunian Grapes of Wrath, but with the poor family finding its wealth. (UK literary agent)
– … watching the drama of this fascinating family unfold could be likened to the writing of Fitzgerald or John Dos Passos, compelling and brutally sincere.

I have written a non-fiction book, Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway, which I plan to publish as an ebook later in 2014 or early 2015. Printed copies are still available at Amazon and a few other book sites. Also, I am writing a book on the history of daylight saving time.

I will aim to respond to any comments I receive here on the blog.

Chris Pearce, BEcon (Hons), MBA
Brisbane, Australia
2014

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20 thoughts on “About”

  1. Thanks Vinny and Awesome Gang for adding A Weaver’s Web synopsis and my bio, as well as for the author interview. Much appreciated.

  2. Thanks for following my blog, Chris. I look forward to reading your novel and your blog.

  3. Hi Chris (from the U – S of A),
    My name is Ian Skotte and I produce the history-based podcast the Road to Now with Bob Crawford of the Avett Brothers and Dr. Benjamin Sawyer of Middle Tennessee State University. Would you be interested in joining us on the show to talk about the History of Daylight Saving Time?
    Some Background
    Our show looks to the past to understand the present. Recent guests include CNN Presidential Historian Dr. Douglas Brinkley, former Director of the National Park Service Jon Jarvis, Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford Dr. Clayborne Carson, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, controversial athlete and 7-time Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong, Bloomberg White House Correspondent Margaret Talev and more.
    Our interviews typically go for 30 – 45 minutes and are conducted via Skype.
    You can find out more about The Road to Now on our website: http://www.theroadtonow.com
    Thank you for your time, and we look forward to speaking with you on the Road to Now.
    Sincerely,
    Ian Skotte
    Producer
    The Road to Now
    w/ Dr. Benjamin Sawyer
    and Bob Crawford
    theroadtonow.com

    • Hi Ian
      Thanks for this. Yes, I think I’d be interested in this. I’d probably need some questions or something or be able to prepare some notes to talk to rather than trying to talk ad-lib for half an hour. I could prepare something interesting with a theme of how we got to now with daylight saving time by looking at what happened in the past. I haven’t used Skype before but I guess I can download it and figure it out.
      Regards
      Chris

      • Chris, that would be great! Skype is a good tool. We actually spoke w/ Peter McPhee (University of Melbourne) using it. I’ll work on getting you some questions. Can you email me: ianskotte@gmail.com
        We’ll work on setting up a date and time there.
        Cheers!
        Ian

  4. Peter Burnhill said:

    Chris, I am currently looking into the role of the Rev. James Dennett during the early years of Aldershot as a garrison town. I’ve stumbled across note you make, in an online extract from your Thomas Pamphlett book, attributing him with the ‘curse of the working class’ quote. I would very much appreciate a pointer to your source for that?

    • Hi Peter, Yes, the quote is: “Drunkenness is the curse of the working class in every trade in this country [England] but it seems tenfold intensified in that of brickmaking”. The source is Warwick Gemmell, “And So We Graft from Six to Six: Of the Brickmakers of New South Wales”, Sydney, 1986, p.1. I don’t think there’s an electronic version and there are few if any new copies around. A few libraries have it, such as the National Library of Australia. It’s also available from a few online secondhand stockists but price is $50-90. I guess it’s a rare book these days. Hope this helps. Chris

      • Peter Burnhill said:

        Many thanks for the prompt reply Chris,

        You might have guessed that I am based in the UK – in Edinburgh as it happens – and yes, I cannot find a copy of that book in any library I know of in the UK – they all seem to be in Australia according to my search of WorldCat. And yes, there are second hand books but at a price, £61 seems to be the going rate.

        Any chance of a photo of the relevant page, should you have a copy yourself?

        The Rev. James Dennett was appointed as the perpetual curate for the parish of Aldershot in April 1853, in the same month that Field Marshall Viscount Hardinge came on horseback into the village and penned a letter to the Prince Consort that the neighbouring heathland should be the site of the training ground for the Army. From 1854 onwards Dennett would have encountered very many brickmakers, some local and others part of the incoming tradesmen.

        Kind regards

        Peter

        PS Glad I stumbled onto your website, some interesting material.

      • Peter Burnhill said:

        Dear Chris,

        As follow-up, what I am keen to establish is whether this is ‘my’ James Dennett. Not that I have uncovered more than one in19th Century England but then …

        Kind regards

        Peter

      • Hi Peter

        Thanks for this. I had a look through my files and found a photocopy of chapter 1 of “And So We Graft from Six to Six”, which I didn’t think I had. I got the quote from a library in Sydney, but I recall copying the chapter from a copy that a family member (since deceased) had a bit later.

        Your email was on the notification email sent to me by WordPress to notify me of your comment. So I’ll scan the page and email it to you. Dennett’s comment was made in 1866 and according to Gemmel’s note at end of chapter 1, the quote is from a book by John Woodford, “Bricks to Build a House”, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1976, p.101.

        I only have a copy of page 41 of this book. Again there seems to be no ebook version but there are secondhand print copies available via Amazon UK for a few pounds. A search inside the book on the word drunkenness indicates that Dennett was giving evidence to an inquiry although the search only gives you a few lines. But Gemmell (p.1) mentions, “Evidence from the ‘Children’s Employment Commission Report’ of 1866 revealed …”. So Dennett was probably giving evidence to this inquiry.

        I have the three page index from the Gemmell book but it doesn’t include Dennett. I guess this was probably an oversight but there is probably no further mention of Dennett in this book as the text is mainly about bricks and brickmaking in early Australia (I checked chapter 1 and he only gets that one mention, on page 1).

        I’m pretty sure it would be the same Rev James Dennett. His quote about brickmakers is from 1866 and you say he was appointed perpetual curate in 1853, so the time periods are fairly close. A Google search of “Rev [and reverend] James Dennett” England only seems to find one Rev James Dennett. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further queries.

        Cheers

        Chris

      • Peter Burnhill said:

        Dear Chris

        This is most helpful.

        I will ‘reward’ you with sight of a draft in which I mention this ‘find’ 😉

        Kind regards

        Peter

        >

      • Peter Burnhill said:

        Chris,

        Just to let you know that I have tracked down a copy of the Fifth Report which includes the contribution of the Rev. James Dennett, including the quote I was after. He was speaking as having “been engaged for three months as a clerical missionary or chaplain among the brickmakers in the district extending from Heston to Southall, in the county of Middlesex”.

        Kind regard

        Peter

    • Hi Peter, That’s great and very interesting. It’s amazing what can be found sometimes. And not always online but also in old books, loose papers in dusty boxes, and scratchy reels in libraries. Good luck with your research. Regards, Chris

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